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Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy

Botanical Name

Glechoma hederacea L.

Common Name

Creeping Charlie,Creeping Jenny, cat's foot



Parts Used

Whole Herb

Native To


Harvesting Guidelines

The whole plant is best gathered early in the season, around May, when the flowers are still fresh


The Cherokee Indians used this plant for centuries as a medicine to cure skin disorders and colds. Ground ivy was used in Portuguese folk medicine to control menstruation and was taken in soups by new mothers and their infants to aid in postpartum recovery. Due to its numerous health advantages, ground ivy is still utilized in herbal therapy today. (1)

Historically, ground ivy was consumed as food because it contains vitamin C, which gives it antiscorbutic qualities. The sensitive early spring growth was used in salads at a time when vitamin C was especially needed after the winter. Moreover, ground ivy was used as a "potherb," or cooked green, in soups. Recent study has confirmed its vitamin C concentration, with lab results demonstrating that dried ground ivy has 100 g of tocopherols per gram of vitamin E and around 168 g of ascorbic acid per gram. A species of gall wasp (Cynips glechomae) may attack ground ivy in the autumn, causing the leaves to develop enormous, rounded pubescent galls. Grieve claims that previously, peasants also consumed these galls.(2)

Ground ivy, also known as Glechoma hederacea, has a long history of medicinal use dating back to the early 1900s. Maude Grieve, a renowned herbalist, noted that ground ivy was a popular remedy for headaches, particularly nervous or congestive headaches. The herb was often used as a snuff or fresh juice to provide relief. Ground ivy was also used as a pectoral to alleviate pulmonary complaints, persistent coughs, and catarrh, and was even used in cases of consumption (now known as tuberculosis). Its diaphoretic properties made it useful for creating a cooling beverage called "Gill Tea," which was made by infusing the herb in boiling water and sweetening it with licorice or honey. Ground ivy was also known for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for kidney complaints of all types. Additionally, the herb was believed to have blood purifying properties and was used by early American painters suffering from lead exposure or "lead colic." Ground ivy was applied topically to bruises or a black eye, and a poultice was used for tumors and abscesses.(3)

Ground ivy has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Recent lab analysis has shown that it contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect against oxidative stress and free radicals. Additionally, in-vitro research has shown that it may have anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. However, there is a lack of scientific research and clinical trials on the medicinal properties of ground ivy, and its current use is largely based on traditional practices. It is commonly used for mild respiratory and digestive issues, as well as for skin conditions and wounds.(4)


Adult Dose

General: 2g dried plant, 3 times/day

Tincture: 2-4mL (1:1 in 25% alcohol), 3 times/day

Infusion: One cup tea (2-4g dried plant steeped in 150mL boiling water for 5-10 minutes) 3 times/day.


Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie, has been found to have potential abortifacient properties, making it important for pregnant individuals or those trying to conceive to exercise caution when handling the plant. Additionally, it is important to avoid harvesting ground ivy from contaminated soils, particularly those with lead paint residues, as the plant may absorb harmful contaminants. While ground ivy contains small amounts of pulegone, a compound that can be toxic to the liver in high doses, it is not recommended to use this herb in conjunction with pennyroyal, which contains much higher levels of pulegone. It is worth noting that a variegated horticultural variety of ground ivy is available for purchase, but it has not been extensively studied for safety or efficacy and should be avoided until further research is conducted.(6)





(1)Moerman, D. (2003). Native American Ethnobotany: A database of plants used as drugs, foods, dyes, fibers, and more, by Native Peoples of North America. [Website]. Retrieved on 10/20/2015 from

(2)Barros, L., Heleno, S. A., Carvalho, A. M., & Ferreira, I. C. (2010). Lamiaceae often used in Portuguese folk medicine as a source of powerful antioxidants: Vitamins and phenolics. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 43(3), 544-550.

(4)Barros, L., Heleno, S. A., Carvalho, A. M., & Ferreira, I. C. (2010). Lamiaceae often used in Portuguese folk medicine as a source of powerful antioxidants: Vitamins and phenolics. LWT-Food Science and Technology, 43(3), 544-550.

(5) Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman

(6)USDA, NRCS. (2015). The PLANTS Database [Online Database]. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. Retrieved on 10/19/2015 from


Scientific Research:

Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.


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